Shutting up shop

I’m back in the UK this week catching up with the family before we all head out to Oslo on Monday. I’m glad to say Emma still remembers me! I spent a merry couple of hours this afternoon trying to tie up some loose ends with the house which will remain empty whilst we are away:

  • Our current house insurance won’t cover us for this long an absence (30 days is pretty much the standard maximum). I’ve only had one quote back so far and that’s £200 over our current policy.
  • Apparently it’s fine for us to leave the car on the driveway of our unoccupied house whereas we would not be covered if we left it at one or other of our parents’ places where there would be someone to keep an eye on it.
  • We won’t be getting anything off our council tax (they just consider we’re on a long holiday).
  • We can, however, put our water, gas, and electric on hold.
  • BT were their usual unhelpful selves. After 15 minutes in the queue (entirely unrelated to the fact that I’d selected the disconnection option I’m sure), I was told that the only way not to pay the minimum line charge of £10.50/month whilst we’re away would be to disconnected and they’d then charge us £120 to be reconnected! If there was an alternative to BT I’d happily ditch them like a shot.
  • This has finally given me the excuse to say goodbye to PlusNet as our broadband provider. Yeah! Needless to say I didn’t take them up on the offer of having the account put on hold whilst I”m away. I have to say they were actually remarkably efficient in closing the account. I’m currently thinking I’ll go with either Be or UK Online when we get back.

I think that just leaves the council garden waste recycling scheme (although if we renew early it will cost us just the same as if we don’t renew until we get back), the TV licence (which I’m not paying if they won’t let me watch iPlayer abroad), oh, and finding a taxi to the airport which will somehow transport Emma but without us taking her car seat away with us!!

7 Responses to “Shutting up shop”

  1. Sam says:

    Cant believe you dont get a council tax discount, most seem to offer up to 50% for vacant furnished properties, if in this case it becomes a 2nd home.

    I hope youve got someone to drive the car for you every few weeks, or make sure that you dont leave the handbrake on (pads will seize). Some people recommend leaving the clutch engaged, but this may proove tricky!

    Good luck!

  2. Hertz one way rental with included child seat?

  3. Neil Broderick says:

    would it be just as effective to put up a sign outside the house saying
    ‘please rob us’ or do you think that Burglers don’t read your blog?


  4. Dave says:

    @Sam – that’s what the guy at Test Valley said when I phoned up but he did seem to be just making it up as he went along. Maybe I should try again. Good thinking about the car – driveway’s a bit of a slope so leaving the handbrake off isn’t an option.

    @Adrian – I did consider that but can’t remember why I decided against it. Perhaps because I have no idea where the nearest Hertz off is (bit lame I know). Eastleigh Area Cars are going to bring our car seat back to their office on Hursley Road for a friend to pick up.

    @Neil – not quite. I make a point of not publishing our address online or anywhere else public come to that. There are very few people who read this blog who therefore know where we live so I’ll know where to start looking if we do get broken in to… That and there isn’t much of resale value left in the house as, fingers crossed, most of our prized possessions touched down in Oslo on Friday.

  5. Sree says:

    I assume you are going to Norway on IBM client work? How long does it look like you’ll be there (You may have addressed this somewhere else and I didn’t read far back enough..)

  6. Dave says:

    Hi Sree,

    I’m on a Short Term Foreign Secondment with the Norwegian ISSW team. So, much the same job as usual but country based rather than Pan-IOT. The hope was that this would a) mean less travelling (or at least less time away from the family!) and b) give me a chance to spend more time with a smaller set of customers. Unfortunately, with the time taken to complete the IBM process we’re down to six months out here as Christine has to get back to work in September.


  7. […] previously blogged about my annoyance at having to fork out £10 a month to BT purely in order to avoid the […]